NHL Trade Update: Flyers' Jeff Carter Traded to Columbus Blue Jackets

Patrick DrottarCorrespondent IJune 23, 2011

PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 24: Jeff Carter #17 Philadelphia Flyers in action  during a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 24, 2011 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Lou Capozzola/Getty Images)
Lou Capozzola/Getty Images

After the rumors of Jeff Carter being traded by the Philadelphia Flyers picked up steam and cooled down time and time again, it has actually been made official.

TSN has reported that the Flyers have traded the 26-year-old center to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Jakub Voracek and the Blue Jackets' first- and third-round picks in the draft.

Ever since the Flyers acquired the negotiating rights for goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, the team has been trying to figure out ways to shed salary cap space so that they could actually sign him.

The Russian goaltender has been asking for a large contract, one which many have said he was not worthy of because of his struggles during the playoffs.

However, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren wanted a goalie and he was going to do whatever it took to acquire one, even if it meant dealing away one of their top young centers.

Carter, last season, signed an 11-year contract with the Flyers that made an annual cap hit of $5.27 million. But once they heard how much Bryzgalov was demanding, Carter's contract seemed like the easiest one to move.

Carter scored 36 goals last season and had a career high 46 goals in the 2008-2009 season. He will most likely join Rick Nash on the Jackets top line as the pair will be linemates for many seasons.

Carter's hefty salary was one of the reasons why the Flyers were not getting a lot of interest from other teams.

The Blue Jackets, however, were intrigued.

Columbus general manager Scott Howson made it clear that he was willing to deal the Blue Jackets eighth overall draft pick, and he wanted a top-six center in return.

The Jackets have the cap space available to bring in an impact player, and they knew that they had a better chance to do so via a trade rather than try free agency where many players will go to the more popular teams, like Detroit, Montreal or Toronto.

Howson knew that he needs to put a winner on the ice next season or else he could be shown the door. With a franchise that has struggled since its arrival—making the playoffs only one time in ten years—now was time they needed to take some risks.

Not many teams were willing to offer that type of player for the pick, so when Howson saw his chance at Carter, he was not going to let the opportunity pass him by.

Howson has often been at the center of trade rumors since his hiring as general manager, but the deals never seemed to have panned out. However, he can now put this one in the books.

Howson will have to part ways with his first ever draft pick in Jakub Voracek. The 21-year-old had a lot of potential and was supposed to have a breakout 2010-11 season. However, the youngster struggled amid stamina issues.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 16:  Jeff Carter #17 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Buffalo Sabres during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 16, 2011 in Philadelphia
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

As much as Howson will be praised for bringing in Carter, his job is not done this offseason, with the free agency period just a week away.

With the trade for Carter, Blue Jackets free agents may have more reason to sign or stay with the team, including RJ Umberger, who said earlier this offseason that he would wait to see what the Jackets did with the draft and free agency before talking to the front office about a contract extension.

Bringing in a former Flyer, and a good one I might add, should help Umberger with his decision.

The Blue Jackets will need all the help they can get to stay competitive in the tough Western Conference.

Jeff Carter is not the only Flyer on his way out of the City of Brotherly Love, as TSN also reported that captain Mike Richards has also been traded to the Los Angeles Kings.

It is clear that the Flyers are going to do what it takes to fix their goaltending issues.